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Headword: Λάμεχ
Adler number: lambda,83
Translated headword: Lamech
Vetting Status: high
Scripture mentions two Lamechs, one being the descendant of Cain, the other being the descendant of Enoch. For Noah had been begotten through Lamech, the one who is not [a descendant] from Cain, who had killed a man and also a youth for wounding him[1], and when he had committed two murders he also took their two wives, Eldah and Zillah.[2] He accuses himself to be worthy of punishment seventy-seven times. From Cain, he says, seven times punishment was exacted, but from Lamech, seventy-seven times.[3] He is punished more greatly, because he did not learn anything from the fall of the first sinner. He slew the brothers of the righteous Enoch, who prayed in faith because of this that he might not see such a death, and having been heard he was taken away.[4] But Enoch was [a descendant] of the righteous Seth, from whom Christ was descended, as his genealogy is recorded by Luke.[5] For he was eager that the seed of the impious [ones] be taken out of the race of the just [ones], since fear of God is an abomination to a sinner. For even the family and the seed of Cain were condemned, but those from Seth were praised. And God did not wish for the race of the righteous to become mixed with the [race of] the impious, but [for the latter] to be obliterated. Therefore since they were committing murder and taking their women, the giants bore portentous monsters,[6] because of whom the cataclysm came and destroyed everything utterly. Only Noah was found righteous in his generation, wherefore he was saved.[7]
Greek Original:
Λάμεχ: δύο Λάμεχ ἡ γραφὴ μέμνηται, ἑνὸς μὲν τοῦ ἀπὸ Κάϊν, ἑνὸς δὲ τοῦ πατρὸς Ἐνώχ. γεγέννηται γὰρ Νῶε διὰ Λάμεχ οὐκ ἐκ τοῦ ἀπὸ Κάϊν, τοῦ καὶ πεφονευκότος ἄνδρα τε καὶ νεανίσκον εἰς μώλωπα, καὶ ὡς δύο φόνους πεποιηκὼς καὶ τῶν δύο τὰς γυναῖκας εἰληφὼς Ἐλδὰν καὶ Σελλάν: ἑαυτοῦ καταμέμφεται ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτὰ ἄξιον εἶναι κολάσεως. ἐκ μὲν τοῦ Κάϊν, φησίν, ἐκδεδίκηται ἑπτάκις, ἐκ δὲ Λάμεχ ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά. κολάζεται μειζόνως, διότι τῇ πτώσει τοῦ προημαρτηκότος οὐκ ἐσωφρονίσθη. τοῦ δικαίου γὰρ Ἐνὼχ ἀδελφοὺς ἀνεῖλε τοῦ πίστει διὰ τοῦτο προσευξαμένου μὴ ἰδεῖν τοιοῦτον θάνατον, καὶ ἀκουσθεὶς μετετέθη. ἦν δὲ ὁ Ἐνὼχ ἐκ τοῦ δικαίου Σήθ, ἐξ οὗ ὁ Χριστὸς κατάγεται γενεαλογούμενος ὑπὸ Λουκᾶ. ἐσπούδαζεν οὖν τῶν ἀσεβῶν τὸ σπέρμα τῶν δικαίων ἐξᾶραι τὸ γένος, ἐπειδὴ γὰρ βδέλυγμα ἁμαρτωλῷ θεοσέβεια. καὶ γὰρ τὸ γένος καὶ τὸ σπέρμα τοῦ μὲν Κάϊν κατηράθη, τοῦ δὲ Σὴθ εὐλογήθη. καὶ οὐκ ἐβούλετο ὁ θεὸς ἐπιμιξίαν γενέσθαι τῶν δικαίων τὸ γένος πρὸς τὸ τῶν ἀσεβῶν, ἀλλ' ἐξαλειφθῆναι. ἐπεὶ οὖν ἐφόνευον καὶ ἐλάμβανον τὰς γυναῖκας αὐτῶν, ἐξαίσια τέρατα ἐτίκτοντο οἱ γίγαντες, δι' οὓς καὶ ὁ κατακλυσμὸς ἐλθὼν πάντας ἄρδην ἀπώλεσε. μόνος εὕρηται δίκαιος Νῶε ἐν τῇ γενεᾷ αὐτοῦ. διὸ καὶ ἐφυλάχθη.
George the Monk, Chronicon 45.22-47.5.
See the Jewish Encyclopedia entry on Lamech at web address 1. One Lamech appears as the son of Methushael and descendant of Cain's son Enoch at Genesis 4:18 ff. Another is mentioned in Genesis 5:25 as the son of Methuselah, grandson of Enoch, and descendant of Seth. These may be variant traditions of the descendants of Adam.
[1] At Genesis 4:23 LXX it seems that there was only one murder, not two. George has misinterpreted the parallelism of Hebrew style. He also seems to have added the detail that the women were widows of the slain men.
[2] Ada and Sella in Vulgate Genesis 4:23, and Ἀδα and Σελλα in Genesis 4:23 LXX, but here Ἐλδα and Σελλα .
[3] Genesis 4:24 LXX (web address 2).
[4] cf. Sirach 44:16.
[5] Luke lists Christ's genealogy in Luke 3:36-38 (web address 3). For Seth see sigma 295.
[6] cf. Genesis 6:1-4.
[7] Noah has a very brief entry at nu 531.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: biography; Christianity; chronology; ethics; history; law; religion; women
Translated by: Kevin Arrowood on 10 December 2002@13:35:38.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added primary note; added x-ref; minor cosmetics) on 10 July 2003@09:30:27.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, another link, status) on 28 January 2005@23:41:19.
Catharine Roth (augmented note) on 30 January 2005@22:27:27.
Catharine Roth (augmented notes) on 31 January 2005@00:24:58.
Catharine Roth (modified translation, other cosmetics) on 31 January 2005@17:52:39.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 1 April 2013@06:34:46.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 8 November 2014@11:25:14.
David Whitehead (more coding) on 16 May 2016@06:39:44.


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